[Wikimediaindia-l] Open letter to Wikimedia Foundation Board: COVID-19: Exceptional Situation Needs Exceptional Measures

Hello Wikimedia Foundation Board,

In a part of this email, although I am recalling things as a Program Person, I am writing this email entirely as a volunteer. I have been contributing to the movement for several years now, and my questions and comments are in my volunteer capacity. I request you to kindly assume good faith.

In the first week of August 2020, when India started suffering from the first wave of COVID-19, I, as a part of the A2K program in India, wrote to Wikimedia Foundation and informed them that every year to conduct a series of workshops, etc. This year the situation was different and the pandemic was affecting many lives, definitely, the Wikimedians around were also affected. We asked, as part of care, could we spend a part of the budget to provide Corona insurances to Wikimedians and families in India?

Wikimedia Foundation wrote back to us after some time and informed us that that was not possible for several reasons such as legal concerns regarding insurance registration as well as settlement and liability issues, or it will set up precedence which can not be continued with other affiliates etc. I won’t go into detail, however in brief the idea was not allowed.

Now, at the time of writing this open letter, India has started facing the second wave (yesterday we have seen 100,000 confirmed cases in India for the first time) count. “We never did” or “this will create precedence” can not be the reason for not doing something. We, in the movement, have spent quite a lot of money on different things including brand awareness.

We talk about WP:EXCEPTIONAL, an exceptional situation requires exceptional measures and actions. This “is” an exceptional situation and needs “exceptional attention”.

Most probably the Wikimedia board is in a position to make a decision. I am not sure what Wikimedia Foundation has done to “directly” support the Wikimedians globally during this pandemic.

Is it possible that Wikimedia Foundation spends a certain percentage of their revenue (such as 20% of the total annual revenue) to directly support affected Wikimedians globally? I am not asking to support everyone, as that might be out of scope, in the movement.

Can Wikimedia spend a certain percentage of the Wikimedia movement’s total annual revenue for the current and next year to plan various things to support and compensate affected Wikimedians?

Otherwise, in any other major and sustainable way, it would be awesome if the Wikimedia Foundation shows their care.

Please assume good faith.